More hours, more burned out: Survey finds remote tech workforce feeling strain of working from home

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The pandemic and remote work are wearing on the tech workforce, with 68% of respondents to a new survey saying they are more burned out than when they worked in an office.

The data comes from a survey by Blind, the anonymous workplace community app. More than 3,000 workers from 40 companies were surveyed, including Seattle-area tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile and Expedia Group. Business Insider reported on the findings on Monday.

Amazon workers surveyed are 74% more burned out working from home and 76% of Microsoft workers feel that way. The number jumps to 83% at Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier T-Mobile.

Blind also found 60% of those surveyed are working more hours than prior to the pandemic, with 67% at Amazon and 70% at Microsoft reporting longer work days.

The findings come as the ongoing health crisis stretches into the fall with little relief in sight. Workers who are able to avoid the previous strain of a long commute are instead spending more time in front of screens at home, doing more video meetings, juggling parenting and remote school and more. It makes some wonder if they work from home or live at work.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella warned back in May about the consequences of embracing telecommuting permanently.

“What does burnout look like? What does mental health look like? What does that connectivity and the community building look like?” Nadella said. “One of the things I feel is, hey, maybe we are burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote. What’s the measure for that?”

Microsoft studies have shown that people are now working after hours and on weekends more frequently, and that remote work is leading to more stress and mental fatigue. By the beginning of October, Nadella was offering tips for managing a healthy WFH lifestyle.

A Blind user at Microsoft offered up a grim assessment of the current work style: “I have been working day and night for the last year now. I have reached a point where I am unable to finish simple tasks because I keep procrastinating. I did this hard work for a promotion and just got one. To my surprise, the extra money is no longer making me happy. I cannot take OOFs because the product I’m working on right now is at its crucial stages. I have no time and energy to spend with my spouse. This is the first time I am experiencing something like this. What should I do?”

In another survey on Monday, Blind looked into how employees feel about their current relationship with a manager and whether WFH is hurting the chance of being promoted.

From 1,800 responses, 29% said their relationship with their manager had deteriorated during remote work, with 35% of Microsoft professionals feeling that way. In addition, 46% of professionals say their likelihood of being promoted during WFH has decreased, including 43% at Microsoft.

At Amazon, 32% reported a deteriorated relationship and 47% reported a decreased likelihood of promotion, according to Blind.

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